QUEENSBURY — There may be leaking septic systems in the Broad Acres neighborhood, leading town officials to send out a letter asking every resident to take care of their system.
The neighborhood is bounded by Dixon Road and Broadacres Road, near Morse Athletic Complex.
The letter from the town does not mention why every resident was being sent a pamphlet on how to care for septic systems.
But Supervisor John Strough said the letter was prompted by a test of water drainage near the neighborhood.
“We saw a small amount of E. coli coming out of the drainage,” he said. “It’s nothing significant.”
But it was enough to worry local officials.
“It could be coming from improperly maintained septic systems,” Strough said.
There could be other sources, though, including people not picking up after their dogs.
“It could be indicative of people walking their dogs and not taking care of it,” Strough said.
The letter, signed by Strough, asked every resident in the neighborhood to help protect the groundwater by maintaining their septic system.
“It is imperative that we work to protect it as much as possible,” he wrote. “Thank you for taking the time to review this information and for your efforts to help protect our natural resources.”
The letter was sent with a pamphlet called, “Do you part — be septic smart!”
It features rhyming phrases to help residents remember what to do to take care of their system, including “Think at the sink” and “Don’t strain your drain.”
The idea is to avoid pouring toxic chemicals, paint solvents and similar liquids down the drain, because they can kill the organisms that digest and treat waste in the septic system. The drain phrase references using as little water as possible, by running machines when they are full and repairing leaks.
The pamphlet also urges every owner to get their system inspected every three years and to get their tank pumped every three to five years. It highlights the warning signs of a failing system: bright green, spongy grass around the drainfield, wastewater backing up into the household drains, or a strong odor around the septic tank.
The pamphlet also recognizes that some people don’t even know where their waste goes. It devotes an entire page to explaining how to determine whether the property has a septic system, and how to find it.
For those who don’t care about the environment, the pamphlet’s first page focuses on why they should maintain their septic system anyway: to save money.
“Malfunctioning systems can cost $3,000 to $7,000 to repair or replace, compared to maintenance costs of about $200 to $500 every three to five years,” the pamphlet says.